Welcome to the Digital Viking: The EDSBS Guide to Spicy Living. Published every Friday, the Digital Viking embraces zesty living with a six-part review of the essentials:
--A patron saint invoked for inspiration
Steady study of the Digital Viking's recommendations will increase spiritual happiness and liver circumference. Apply weekly for best results.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Our Heroine is in an undisclosed location this week covering a top-secret sporting event (what event? OH NOTHING), and in her place we present Dolla Bill Doug, who knows more about drankin' than he does about picking football games, thank merciful God.
If the success of Justified has the badassedness of Federal Marshals on your mind, discard the fictional ones and go straight for the real thing. Bass Reeves could lift a steer out of a mud bog and then ride off stark naked to cowboy applause, allegedly beat up his slave master and get away with it, speak several different Native American languages, shoot the "left hind leg off a contented fly sitting on a mule’s ear at a hundred yards and never ruffle a hair," father ten children and then icily arrest one of his five sons for murder, sing softly to himself on the way into gunfights, arrest 3,000 felons in a forty year career as a federal marshal, kill fourteen men in the line of duty, and do all of this in Arkansas, Texas, and the Oklahoma territory in the late 1800s as a black man.
The first black deputy marshal west of the Mississippi may have tortured a few men, sure, but that just goes with the whole "Jack Bauer meets Sheriff Bart" thing he had going. On top of all this he had a mustache which served as badge, shelter in a rainstorm, barfighting weapon, gun cleaner, lady-saddle, insignia in the army of indomitable badasses, and conversation piece. It's said that local Indians used it in powdered form to improve sexual performance. We just made this up, but it would have if they'd done it.
Doug: Anyone can randomly grab a few bottles out of their liquor cabinet and invent a new passably drinkable cocktail; it takes a real student of the fermented arts to come up with something that advances the very utility of the alcoholic beverage. Fortunately, the Kirkwood Public House in East Atlanta has done just that with the "Brewdriver," the new platinum standard in brunch drinking. Fill a pint glass about 2/3 of the way up with wheat beer, then fill it almost the rest of the way with OJ; the "almost" is because you've got to leave room for the dash of Grand Marnier that transforms this into a little citrusy slice of heaven. If the Nobel committee refuses to grant KPH a chemistry prize for this concoction, then at the very least it should henceforth be listed in the Physicians' Desk Reference under hangover treatments.
Orson: Concha Y Toro Frontera: Makes Pants Disappear. Is it swirlable? No, lest you want to stain the side of a perfectly good red solo cup. Should you let it breathe? No, since as a zombie wine it requires little to no oxygen, and it wouldn't do any good since there aren't many notes to unravel anyway. (Notes is used in error when talking about Concha Y Toro: how about "cheap drum machine hits and the dulcet tones of a Casio SK-5 keyboard.) Should we worry about whether it matches our food? No, because if it's a Frontera day, you're eating a hamburger, and then like half a hot dog, and probably way too many chips out of a tupperware bowl.
Frontera is the truth if your'e going to a wine-based event outdoors and need to tell the hate-ness from the greatness, because practical wine-drinkers will nod and recognize that while others toy around with expensive sparklers, you've just toted in the great roman candle firing sparkling balls of drink-doom into the dark night of sobriety. If the fifteen dollar bottles of nice stuff others bring are the tiny white booster rockets on the side of this space shuttle, the 12 dollar 1.5 L bottle of Frontera is the great orange fuel tank that sends this shit into orbit.
Bonus: it doesn't suck, though the hangovers will have you waking up at 3 in the morning convinced you've time traveled, been kidnapped by Barbary Pirates, been stuffed into a steamer trunk, and then transported in the sweltering hull of a slave ship.
Orson: Pad Thai. In honor of Thailand stepping up their riot game the past week, let's honor Pad Thai, a convenient way of transferring oil via a noodle medium. Don't get snobby with it: it's street food in Bangkok, and can be made in the kitchen as long as you're willing to use enough oil to properly lubricate a Russian icebreaker at full steam though the Arctic Ocean.
Pretty much the best shit ever made: Pad Thai.
This goes for eating out as well, since pretty much any Thai restaurant can cook up a carb-loaded pile of delicious hot death for you with the basic flavors in place: fish sauce, sugar, lime, and chili, preferably augmented with a little trio of jars on the side loaded with peanuts, peppers, and sugar so you can balance the dish to your preferences. Then you should eat it with a fork or even a spoon (hybrid Chinese/Thai restaurant goers--ditch the chopsticks, they're impractical and way un-Thai-ish), and do so in a fashion that would shame a labrador breaking into a pack of steaks. We do, and it is glorious, especially when paired with a cold beer
and two hookers and good friends.
Doug: About ten years ago, the magazine where I was working in Atlanta gave me a cover story on barbecue. It was perhaps the greatest assignment I'd ever been given: Basically it entailed me going to a dozen or so of the ATL's top barbecue joints and sampling their offerings on the company expense account. The unofficial champion of this exercise was Daddy D'z, an establishment that is proof positive of my cardinal rule of barbecue: The worse a place looks like on the outside -- and Daddy D'z looks like it was assembled out of shacks that had been picked up by tornadoes in Oklahoma and deposited on Memorial Avenue -- the better the pork is inside.
Not only are Daddy D's ribs literally fall-off-the-bone delicious, he has achieved something unique with the "que wrap," i.e. pork wrapped in dough and deep-fried, won-ton style. It takes a devious mind and a hell of a lot of effort to make Southern barbecue even less healthy than it already is, but dammit, he pulled it off. One hundred cocktails to you, Daddy D, wherever you are (followed by a Lipitor chaser, of course).
Doug: Combustion don't get much simpler than the BLU-96 "fuel-air explosive," which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a bomb that sprays a bunch of gasoline in the air, then lights it all on fire. If that seems like the kind of thing a fifth-grader would've come up with in study hall as a particularly sadistic way of killing cockroaches . . . that ain't far off, actually.
Orson: Chemistry speak for "WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?" is "chlorine trifluoride." Professionals fear it, and so does wet sand, just one of the many, many things chlorine trifluoride can ignite without oxygen. Read that again: chlorine trifluoride will ignite in a vacuum. This is just one of its many talents, however. Capable of burning wood, burned wood, brick, flooring, concrete, and just about anything else it comes into contact with, it was deemed too nasty to work with by the Nazis when they considered using it for a self-igniting flamethrower.
Chemists tell fearful, awe-stricken stories when it rears its ugly head:
It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals-steel, copper, aluminium, etc.-because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminium keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes."
Lace 'em up, because this will haunt the chemistry lab of your nightmares forever.
Orson: The Y-wing, because my fast-twitch reflexes are way too slow to be caught in an intergalactic space battle in anything as fragile as an X-wing.
Notice in the Star Wars series how you rarely see any of these pinwheeling into the surface of the Death Star. They're like the Ford F-series of trucks of the Rebel Alliance, clearly made for pilots too slow to dogfight but too stubborn and pissed off to bail out of a fight. If you look closely, there are truck nuts hanging off the back of each one, and those brown stains on the front are from nebula-muddin'.
Doug: For four years now, Alfa Romeo has been planning to return to the U.S. market, and as befits a country that takes three hours off in the middle of the damn day to go home, drink grappa, and fuck their mistresses, they've been taking their sweet-ass time making these plans a reality. Right now, the only Alfa you can buy in the U.S. is the 8C Competizione, a 444-horsepower supercar that costs about as much as your house (and that's assuming you live in a really nice house). Over the past few months, though, the Eye-talians have been dangling the prospect of an Alfa we can actually afford: the Giulietta, which packs 250 horses into a Jetta-sized hatchback and is supposed to go on sale (assuming it ever does go on sale) for right around 25 grand.
My current car is going on 11 years old, but I now have a job (woo!), and I'm on track to have my mountain of credit-card debt paid off right around the time the Giulietta is supposed to arrive in the U.S. (late next year). If you hear reports of a wild-eyed, cackling white male leading police on serial high-speed chases throughout south Georgia, you'll know I succeeded in putting one in my garage.
Doug: I don't know whether Spence and Holly have put Marvin Gaye on their shortlist for Patron Saint, but he probably ought to be there -- joined the Air Force, then got out after faking a mental illness; did a bunch of drugs, went bankrupt, and lived out of a bread van in Hawaii for several years; during his comeback, showed up seven hours late to a Royal Gala Charity Show that Princess Margaret walked out of in a huff; then got shot by his own dad. Amongst all these shenanigans, Gaye somehow managed to write and record a lengthy series of R&B hits, a series that includes the album What's Going On -- possibly the greatest pop album ever made.
I could give you a laundry list of reviews backing up that assessment, but here's all you need to know: It's an impassioned outcry against the social injustices pervading America, and you can have sex to it.
Orson: In light of Doug's sensitive choice, let's swing the other way and sing the praises of RED DEAD REDEMPTION. I'm just starting to get into this, but the following are awesome knowns:
- Pants are available for purchase in the game that have an extra card-sized pocket.
- This is for cheating at poker.
- If caught, you can attempt to shoot your way out of the situation.
- You can work your way up to riding a buffalo as your personal transportation into town
- You can get stinking drunk and start barfights
- You can be perfectly sober and start barfights
- Every multiplayer begins with a Mexican Standoff
- You may tie a fair maiden to the railroad tracks and let a train run her over.
There's nothing else I can say to recommend this game further besides what I did last night: get drunk and steal a goddamn train. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: PETER O'TOOLE. It is, thus far, fantastic entertainment.